Adventures along the Silvertree trail

It was Sunday and it was time to hike! I have been listening to my fellow hikers’ requests for something a little bit less steep and so we headed out to walk the contour paths of the back of Table Mountain.

Far from flat but far from ridiculously steep, we headed out to our meeting point where we waited 20 minutes for the rest of the group to arrive. Needless to say we waited and waited and waited. A quick message to one member of the party who had confirmed the morning before that they were coming only to get  a reply saying they were in fact no longer coming.  They just didn’t bother to let me know.  So much for courtesy in today’s world, but I still live in hope.

We were to set out on the Silvertree trail above the well-manicured gardens of Kirstenbosch, starting at the Rycroft gate, where if you arrive before 8am you get in for free. At least that is how it used to be. But as we approached the gate a runner who was heading out said to us “no more free entrance.” What?! When did that change? It had been like that for ages. A few other runners and hikers arrived but all turned around again with the news that you now had to pay a ridiculous amount just to get to the hiking paths above the gardens.

So we changed our plans and hopped back into the car and headed out to Constantia Nek a bit further on where we would start our hike and eventually join up on the Silvertree trail anyway, without having to pay.

The wind was howling that side of the mountain but the sky was blue and the sun was shining as we set out amongst the beautiful pine forests.

Change of plan, we started our hike at Constantia Nek ~ Nothing like adding a few extra kilometres to your hike before you even start!

Change of plan, we started our hike at Constantia Nek ~ Nothing like adding a few extra kilometres to your hike before you even start!

At least I had one person with me,my best friend, which allowed the hike to go ahead despite the no shows. And what excellent company she was!

At least I had one person with me,my best friend, Natalie, which allowed the hike to go ahead despite the no shows. And what excellent company she was!

The wind was howling on this side of the mountain, creating unbelievable things with the clouds swirling around in the sky! Nothing has been altered on this pic, taken just as I saw it.

The wind was howling on this side of the mountain, creating unbelievable things with the clouds swirling around in the sky! Nothing has been altered on this pic, taken just as I saw it.

The mountain slopes were alive with colourful flowers.

The mountain slopes were alive with colourful flowers.

There is just something about hiking in a pine forest ~ the smell of the pine trees gets me every time!

There is just something about hiking in a pine forest ~ the smell of the pine trees gets me every time!

More beautiful flowers on the slopes of the mountainside.

More beautiful flowers on the slopes of the mountainside.

As we walked we listened to the wind swirling around the pine trees, like thousands of people whispering up above. The smell of the pine filled the air and as we walked the sun streaked through the trees.  As we rounded one corner the wind suddenly stopped and in this sheltered section of the trail we came upon hundreds of butterflies! Fluttering around all over the place, we stopped for ages just watching them.

In a sheltered part of the trail we came across butterflies fluttering around all over! Such a beautiful sight.

In a sheltered part of the trail we came across butterflies fluttering around all over! Such a beautiful sight.

The cloud over the top of Table Mountain, easing over the top table as if it were a cauldron bubbling over

The cloud over the top of Table Mountain, easing over the top table as if it were a cauldron bubbling over

At times the wind was so strong you had to be careful not to be blown off the path! Here you can see the trees literally lying sideways as the wind gusted through.

At times the wind was so strong you had to be careful not to be blown off the path! Here you can see the trees literally lying sideways as the wind gusted through.

Despite having to change our start point, we had made it across the mountain and found ourselves on top of Kirstenbosch and on the Silvertree trail, our chosen route for the day.

Despite having to change our starting point, we had made it across the mountain and found ourselves on top of Kirstenbosch and on the Silvertree trail, our chosen route for the day.

As we walked through the forest of trees you could hear the squeaking of the trees of the touched in the wind.

As we walked through the forest of trees you could hear the squeaking of the trees as they touched in the wind.

The sun streaming through the tree tops.

The sun streaming through the tree tops.

At one point Natalie and I were walking along the path, chatting when all of a sudden to our left there was a huge “bang” and the sound of something rolling down the mountainside right above us. We literally froze, then turned and ran out the way of whatever was rolling down the slopes towards where we stood. We stopped and waited but then the sliding and crunching noise stopped. We burst out laughing!

Either rocks on the mountain slopes had come loose or part of a tree’s branch had cracked and fallen in the howling wind. Luckily it must have gotten caught on something that prevented it from hitting the path. From there on every time we heard the trees creaking and groaning above us or the occasional “crack” we upped our pace!

"Two roads diverged in a wood, And sorry I could not travel both..." The path to the left leading up the extremely steep Nursery Ravine (I know because I've done it before!) and the one to the right carried on the Silvertree trail. Natalie, as eager as ever started heading up Nursery Ravine before realizing what she was doing!

“Two roads diverged in a wood, And sorry I could not travel both…” The path to the left leading up the extremely steep Nursery Ravine (I know because I’ve done it before!) and the one to the right carried on the Silvertree trail. Natalie, as eager as ever started heading up Nursery Ravine before realizing what she was doing!

Not a completely flat path, we climbed numerous stairs.

Not a completely flat path, we climbed numerous stairs.

Every now and again the path would open up offering us beautiful views right across the Southern Suburbs right across to False Bay in the distance.

Every now and again the path would open up offering us beautiful views right across the Southern Suburbs and right across to False Bay in the distance.

A bridge, although no water flowing offering a perfect photo opportunity, snapped before I even noticed!

A bridge, although no water flowing under it, offering a perfect photo opportunity, snapped as I was sitting down!

Eventually we came up to a ravine which was sheltered from the wind.  We found a perfectly flat rock overlooking the ravine, which had a few pools of water in with frogs singing a chorus. It was the perfect setting to stop for lunch. After enjoying our lunch and our tummies full, we positioned our backpacks as a pillow and lay back in the rays of the sun as we listened to the sounds of nature all around us.

After lunch, we lay back on the rock and just took in everything nature had to offer.

After lunch, we lay back on the rock and just took in everything nature had to offer.

As we headed back we came across this waterfall, which hadn't yet completely dried up and still offered a small trickle of water. Kirstenbosch is winter is beautiful to hike as you come across waterfalls everywhere.

As we headed back we came across this waterfall, which hadn’t yet completely dried up and still offered a small trickle of water over the moss-covered rocks. Kirstenbosch in winter is beautiful to hike as you come across waterfalls everywhere.

Some more stairs to wake our muscles up after our chilled out lunch!

Some more stairs to wake our muscles up after our chilled out lunch!

Almost back at the cars

Almost back at the cars, a few more beautiful views to see. All in all, a fantastic hike that left me feeling alive and invigorated!

There is just something about waking up really early on a Sunday morning, despite every cell in your body screaming at you to stay in bed and sleep in instead of heading out to walk in nature.  But the early rise is always so worth it ~ the sights, the sounds, the smells fill your soul and leave you feeling more alive than ever!

Grateful for my hiking partners and for the amazing endless places I have to hike. To my other regular hiking partners, Nix, Lynette and Judi ~ you all had other plans for yesterday but you were missed and I hope you can all join us on the next lot of hiking adventures!

Today, especially after our pole dancing lesson on Saturday, a hard, strenuous workout that happened in 33 degree Celsius weather, our muscles let us know that we did good this weekend and all those stairs are hopefully giving us nice and shapely calf muscles ~ hello summer!

~ All Photos By Me ~

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Natalie
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 16:12:09

    Between my calf muscles and my hip… I’m beginning to feel a little like those trees groaning in the wind lol but ever so glad we did the hike despite the wind and a bit of a delayed start. Thank you TOO for being excellent company and a great hiking partner!!

    P.S. Also glad Donna is back – it’s going to be nice having her along on the hikes again :-)

    Reply

    • Walking 4 Air
      Dec 03, 2012 @ 16:17:19

      So glad you enjoyed the hike! I am seriously starting to see images of zimmer frames on the mountain, haha! :) Funnily enough, today as I headed down three flights of stairs my legs screamed at me to take the lift. The stairs won! Also excited to have my Kili partner back on the mountain slopes hiking with us again. Plenty more good times ahead….

      Reply

  2. roberta4949
    Dec 03, 2012 @ 23:18:30

    awesome place, thanks for sharing the views.

    Reply

  3. restlessjo
    Dec 04, 2012 @ 21:15:55

    Love that cloud over Table Top. What a view!

    Reply

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